Home » Bondi attacker was known to police, no early indication of terrorism

Bondi attacker was known to police, no early indication of terrorism

The man shot and killed by an officer after stabbing multiple people at a Westfield shopping centre in Sydney’s Bondi Junction was known to police.
Details of the attack were confirmed in a late press conference on Saturday night by NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb.
Police confirmed six people were killed in the attack. Five died at the shopping centre and one victim at hospital.

Webb said most of those killed were women.

Webb confirmed the attacker was “known to the police,” and revealed he was 40-years-old, but stopped short of naming him until formal identification was completed.
“Let me assure you that we are confident that there is no ongoing risk and we are dealing with one person who is now deceased,” she said.
The shopping centre will remain closed while police process the crime scenes.
Webb reiterated what many of her colleagues and peers said earlier in the day, that it was “too early” to establish a motive.
There was no indication at this time it was an act of terrorism, she said.

Webb said the police “don’t have fears for that person holding an ideation, in other words, that it’s not a terrorism incident.”

Major incident

The major incident was declared in the aftermath of the incident on Saturday afternoon, with paramedics treating stab wound victims at the scene.
NSW Ambulance said nine people were taken to hospital with stabwounds, including a nine-month old baby.
The baby received surgery, according to Webb.

Those in hospital are in a serious or critical condition.

“From preliminary inquiries it would appear that this person has acted alone,” NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke told the media on Saturday, noting that enquiries were new and police were still attempting to identify the offender.
“I do not have information in relation to the offender. I do not know at this stage who he is.”

Cooke added that there was nothing on the scene to indicate any motive or any ideology, but said police were not ruling out terrorism.

Source: AFP / David Gray via Getty Images

A single officer

The offender entered the shopping centre just after 3pm, left shortly thereafter, then returned about 10 minutes later and “engaged with about nine people”.
A single female police officer who was nearby attended the scene and “immediately” engaged with the offender, Cooke said, confronting him on level 5 from behind.
Cooke said the man turned to the officer, raised a knife before she “discharged a firearm”, killing him.
That officer’s actions saved a number of people’s lives, he added.

“Our hearts go out to all of [the victims], as they do to anyone touched by this terrible incident,” Cooke said, later adding that he had never seen anything like this incident.

AUSTRALIA-CRIME-POLICE

Families walk out of the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping mall after a stabbing incident in Sydney on 13 April, 2024. Source: Getty / David Gray

“A mass of people running”

SBS News presenter Ricardo Gonçalves was at the shopping centre when the incident took place.
“We saw people scurrying and then I heard what sounded like gunshots very close by – if I was to guess, 20 metres away,” Gonçalves told SBS News. “And then we just ran; we bolted with everyone else. There was this mass of people running… Hundreds. Everyone.”
Gonçalves said he had one thought in mind: “Just get to safety.”
About 20 minutes earlier, he added, he had heard what sounded like an argument with “a lot of screaming.”

“It sounded like someone was getting hurt,” he said.

A NSW Police officer pulls the peak of his cap down over his eyes as he walks away from emergency services personnel and an ambulance stretcher

Credit: Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images

Shoppers hiding in stores

Domenico Gentile from SBS Audio’s Italian program was also at the shopping centre at the time.
“I was there when I heard these three shots, and I felt immediately the panic that followed and the shops closing down,” he told SBS News. “After that we all took refuge wherever we could, because there was no direction. There was no police at the time. I went into a Harris Farm.”
“We were evacuated and as soon as I got out, I immediately saw the massive presence of police, the ambulances and so on.”

Witnesses speaking to media reported the heroic actions of shop workers who took shoppers into their stores and locked the doors for safety.